Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Chinese Mantis

The Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) is a species of praying mantis. Originating from China they were first introduced to North America around 1895 as a source of pest control.
Their diet consists primarily of other insects, though adult females can sometimes take down small vertebrate prey such as reptiles and amphibians.
Like some other mantids, they are known to be cannibalistic. The female can produce several spherical ootheca roughly the size of a table-tennis ball filled with up to 200 eggs.
Their color can vary from overall green to brown with a green lateral stripe on the edge of the front winngs. In low light the eyes appear to be black, but in daylight appear to be clear, matching the color of the head.
Developed in the Shandong province of China in the mid-1600s, Praying Mantis Kung Fu is based on the quick movements and techniques of the Chinese mantis.

Pet keepers are a useful source of information about mantids:
Chinese mantids in particular make great pets, and need little care. Anywhere between a two and a half and a ten gallon tank or small-screened cage will do. One cricket about every other day is all they require for nourishment. Mantids drink by lapping up the dew from leaves, so a gentle misting every other day or so will suffice. After being handled a few times, the mantids will allow handling without objection as long as you move slowly. Being docile by nature, a mantis will often stay perched on a houseplant, bedrail, or piece of furniture for hours at a time, cleaning themselves and keeping a careful watch for the slightest movement, and so can be allowed out of the cage under supervision. Mantids are watchful, curious, fastidiously clean predators and will even eat wet catfood if offered to them on forceps. They typically live under one year, and only for a month or two as winged adults, but breed easily in captivity. Females grow up to 4” in length.

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